Growing up on a farm in Kansas, Marshfield Police Chief Doug Fannen says he always dreamed of being a police officer, but envisioned a career of farming in his future. Ultimately, he decided that serving the community through law enforcement was his destiny. He graduated from the academy in Kansas and started out as a police officer in his hometown of Fort Scott, where he worked for a few years before moving to Utah. He went through the academy in Utah and was hired at the Lehi Police Department where he also attended the Advanced Officers Academy. It was also here that he met his wife and had three boys.
“I wanted to get my boys back on a farm. So, when my youngest was two weeks old, we moved from Utah, to Missouri. I worked for Greene County for just a short while before I was pulled over by a Marshfield Police Officer for speeding,” he explained. “I had heard so many great things about MPD and I applied.”
Luckily for Fannen, he got hired under Chief Ken Clardy six months later. His career in Marshfield began in 2002 as a patrolman. Four years later, he became Chief when Clardy retired.
Less than 2% of police officers ever make the rank of Chief. Fannen, who had only been with the department for six years, was promoted to Chief when Clardy left.
“It was never something I thought about doing. I had learned so much from Chief Clardy and I really enjoyed working under him,” he said. “I had never worked in a department where coworkers and the citizens were so supportive. Still to this day, I use a lot of the things that Ken Clardy did because he was Chief for 34 years – that’s just unheard of across the United States. He was doing something right.”
The average Police Chief in the state of Missouri lasts from three to five years. After picking up where Clardy’s 34-year reign ended, Fannen is on his 15th year as Chief.
“I give him a lot of credit for that. I’ve tried to be just like him in a lot of ways. He and I still have great communication and although we have a lot of differences, I have really looked up to him in my career,” he added. “Learning from him, and every Chief I have worked for is something that has made me the Chief I am today.”
Picking and choosing the things that Fannen liked, and disliked over his career as a law enforcement officer has been key to finding his groove as Chief.
“One of my main goals has been to continue the reputation of the Marshfield Police Department that it had under Ken Clardy,” he said. “This department is a family and you seldom hear of any arguments between our officers. Our guys treat each other like they want to be treated and that really does stem back to the way Clardy ran this department.”
Fannen put his name in for Chief because of how much he loved serving the community of Marshfield. He said the department in Marshfield is unlike anywhere else he has worked.
“I knew I didn’t want to ever leave. I wasn’t sure I even had a shot at getting the job, but when Ken left I wanted to try,” he recalled. “I remember not having a lot of money and having three boys, trying to help support my wife through college… I couldn’t go out and spend money on a suit so I borrowed one for that interview. I remember the guys making comments about me looking sharp and I thought man, they don’t even know that this isn’t my suit. I really didn’t think I would get the job. So it was kind of like a fairy tale. When they told me I got the job, I was in shock.”
Fannen didn’t grow up in the best home environment. Those factors in his life played into his passion for being in law enforcement.
“I’ve seen hardships, and I wanted to be on the side of trying to help people through that. There is a lot of violence, a lot of pain in the world and I wouldn’t be going on my 29th year in law enforcement if I wasn’t in it for the people,” he said.
With almost half of his career being in Marshfield, Fannen beams about this community and the people who show their appreciation for law enforcement. He takes pride in the close-knit officers that make up the Marshfield Police Department and compares his role as the ‘boss’ to having 11 more kids.
“This is the closest I’ve ever been with officers. Going into some of the situations we go into and having those shared experiences, it bonds you,” he explained. “In those moments you don’t care if it's a man or woman, black or white, any of that… you just know that you’re going to have someone that doesn’t leave you behind and that’s a big deal.”
Fannen has reached a new level of pride in the department when he was able to see his son, Garrett, be sworn in as an officer for MPD.
“The highlight of my career was seeing my son graduate from the Police Academy and join the department,” he smiled. “Law enforcement has become so violent. It’s always been a hard job but that fear kind of hits you all over again when you see your kid suit up for patrol. I worry about him coming home, and now my wife’s like, ‘now you can imagine what I deal with!’”
Another notable highlight of his career was being on the joint Metro SWAT team in Utah in the year 2000. The SWAT team covered a county with a population of 700,000. Out of the 40 man SWAT team, he was one of seven selected to participate in the SWAT Olympics.
“As cool as the SWAT team was to be a part of, as great as that training was for my career, nothing beats watching being able to put on his badge and uniform. It gives me chills just thinking about it,” he added. “I have another son that is getting into law enforcement now, and to have two boys willing to step up when recruitment is at an all-time low… I’m just so proud.”
Though Fannen isn’t ready yet, he aims to retire from the Marshfield Police Department. He loves his community and he’s grateful for every person that comes up to him and trusts him enough to lay their burdens on him or seek advice.
“There’s just something special about this community. People hate police officers more now than ever before, but in Marshfield we have people come up to us and say that they pray for us,” he said. “That means more to me than any accolade or award ever could.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here